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Start your due diligence here with San Antonio Christian Leaders Forum’s guide
Local pastor and spokesperson for San Antonio Christian Leaders Forum (SACLF), Art Gonzales, believes with all his heart those who follow the Bible should also follow their conscience when it comes to voting in local elections.
His words are poignant with the upcoming crucial race in San Antonio. In our city, early voting is May 28 to June 4;Election Day is Saturday, June 8. This city election is so pivotal that for the first time in recent history, local churches have banded together to pray.
Although recent nationwide elections have attracted around 60 percent of registered Americans to the polls, by comparison, our city’s mayoral and city council election turnout is dismal. Yet, this is where we live, thrive, prosper, create a peaceful place for our children’s children — until we stop giving voice to what we believe in.
Art says that he talks to Christians who say they don’t vote in elections for several reasons:
- I’m too busy
- I don’t see any good candidates
- Jesus is coming soon anyway
- I won’t make a difference
Art urges Christians to cast their ballot, making it a high priority even if the candidates don’t seem stellar at first glance. “Jesus isn’t running for city council this year,” he says. “So, you’ve got to look for the individual who is willing to work with the Christian community — who is willing to talk to us. They’re not all perfect.”
If we don’t vote, the wisdom of Proverbs 29:2 comes all too close to home: “When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.”
If we don’t vote, it’s a sure thing that no one will listen. “I have talked to more city council people,” says Art, “and more elected officials who say, ‘What do you people want? And what’s your position on this? How do you feel?’ And we’re not speaking.”
While each Christian is free to vote according to his or her opinion, there is power in a unified voice. Do our officials know what believers in Christ truly believe? A few election cycles back, Art was talking to an elected city official. As Art recalls: “I said, ‘Sir, aren't you concerned about the Christian votes?’ And he looked me right in the eye and said, “Pastor, I am not concerned about the Christians because you don't vote as a bloc.”
The Faith Based Platform for San Antonio Voters was created, says Art, after months of writing a Bible study for people in his church. It has been endorsed by multiple pastors and spiritual leaders. The short document below is a summary of a lifetime of thought and hours of focused study. Take a moment to read it, reflect — and vote!
Download the SACLF Faith Based Platform
Faith Based Platform for San Antonio Voters
#1 Govern by the will of the people alone.
#2 Protect & defend the sanctity of life.
#3 Protect, defend and support the traditional family.
#4 Protect religious liberty as defined specifically by the Constitutions of Texas and the united States of America.
#5 Protect and defend the personal and civil liberties of all the citizens of San Antonio without compromising or jeopardizing the personal and civil liberties of any other citizen. #6 Provide for the safety and security of all citizens under the law.
#7 Address poverty at its root causes not its symptoms and consequences.
#8 Provide exceptional city services that improve and enhance the quality of life equally in all neighborhoods of the greater metropolitan area.
#9 Exercise, at all levels of local government, sound, conservative fiscal management.
#10 Integrate successful faith-based programs and organization in full partnership with local governmental agencies to provide added value and resource to meet the needs of individuals and families.
#11 Excellence in education is a priority for our children.
Why We Need A Faith Based Platform For Voters
The City of San Antonio is the fastest growing city in the U.S. As a consequence, we have also encountered challenges and changes that our city’s founders never dreamed we would encounter. As we enter into new seasons, we can do so in response to the challenges, blindly, fiscally irresponsible and without a moral compass, or, we can enter into our combined future with forethought, due diligence and a moral direction that leads us to become a haven for goodness, economic success and a matchless quality of life.
Therefore, we the San Antonio Christian faith community present and espouse a platform for success in the governance of the Alamo City.
The eleven planks of this platform, further outlined in this guide, serves to the faith community at large as a basis for how we will elect, support and evaluate our governmental and civic leaders.
Read, Preach, Pray and Vote each plank!
Note: We would like to acknowledge the following: The Government sphere of the San Antonio Christian Leaders Forum, The Heritage Foundation, The Justice Foundation, the Liberty Council, the National Black Robe Regiment, Wallbuilders and other Christian Conservative think tanks and organizations for their insights and input. This is a stronger document because of their foundational works.
Faith Based Platform for San Antonio Voters
PLANK 1. Govern by the will of the people alone.
We acknowledge and support the view that the established form of governance, a constitutional republic, is to be evident and sacred at all levels of public and private life. We support a government in which sovereign power is exercised by representatives elected by the people. We believe that all public policy and law be based upon and created out of the will of the people, exhibited by open, non-partisan debate and discussion and the voices and will of the citizens of San Antonio be heard and adhered to by free and open vote. We support this principle of governance, by the will of the people, based on Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:15-16 & 16:18. Additionally, our U.S and Texas Constitutions clearly reflect a government of laws, not of political party, personal opinion or special interest. We will therefore actively pursue, promote and elect men and women of character and Biblical worldview who seek public servanthood not political position and power.
PLANK 2. Protect & defend the sanctity of life.
The Declaration of Independence declares, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” We insist that our City leaders secure the right of every human to live. We cannot and will not allow the City to become the centerpiece for abortion on demand in South Texas. We will expect our leaders to protect every mother and the unborn.
PLANK 3. Protect, defend and support the traditional family.
We believe that supporting and defending traditional marriage as defined by the Holy Bible and espoused in the laws of the State of Texas, is not bigotry. The biblical model of “one man and one woman” first presented in Genesis 2:18; 21-24 was God’s first human institution, created before civil government and the church. We believe that the strength of our families is critical to the future wellbeing of our community. We believe that parenting according to the precepts and principles of our Christian faith are equally as important to our City’s future as procreation. We believe that the traditional family must not be excluded, belittled nor degraded in the light of new or divergent ideas and expressions of modern family life. In such, programs that strengthen parenting skills as well as provide economic assistance in the form of financial management; and programs that emphasize the importance of self-governance and the family as the first level of governance in our community are what we will expect and support from every candidate and elected official.
PLANK 4. Protect religious liberty as defined specifically by the Constitutions of Texas and the United States of America.
We hold the position that morality is necessary for a republican government and religion is necessary for morality therefore, religion is necessary for republican government. We also hold that every American is guaranteed the freedom to live and work consistent with their faith. Religious freedom supporters want more freedom and less government intrusion. We insist that City leaders act and Faith Based Platform for San Antonio Voters www.SACLF.org legislate, if not from a shared theology, then certainly, from a shared morality as did our Founding Fathers. We insist that our elected leaders, allow and take into account, the free exercise of religious opinion, as well as, religious practice and that they neither create nor allow to stand, any law that is contrary to this constitutional position. We believe and practice a Biblical worldview, thereby believe that religion based on a Biblical Worldview is never in conflict with freedom or the goodwill of a community. We will vote and support any candidate or elected that understands that the “separation of Church and State” is not freedom from religion but freedom from the state controlling religion or regulating public religious beliefs and expressions in public life. We will support, wholeheartedly, those City leaders who invite moral thought, opinions by citizens of faith and faith-based institutions to participate fully in public and private life.
PLANK 5. Protect and defend the personal and civil liberties of all the citizens of San Antonio without compromising or jeopardizing the personal and civil liberties of any other citizen.
We believe and therefore insist that the elected officials of the City, County, State and Nation protect and defend the rights and freedoms given to the people by the First Amendment to the Constitution, by law, and legislation, allowing individuals to be free to speak, think, assemble, organize, conduct free exercise of religion, or petition without government (or even private) interference or restraints. These liberties are given to man by God and are protective in nature for the safety, security and good environment needed to raise our families. We insist that these God-given civil rights and liberties be safeguarded equally under the law and that special rights will not be granted to any person, group or organization to the detriment of any other person, group or organization.
PLANK 6. Provide for the safety and security of all citizens under the law.
According to Romans 13:1, everyone should be “subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established [and] the authorities that exist have been established by God.” We will therefore vote for and elect men and women who in the exercise of their authority, establish and adequately provide security and safety in the form of police and fire departments and emergency services that are state of the art in all neighborhoods and sectors of the Greater San Antonio area. We will insist in the highest standards of conduct and behavior from these public servants because according to Romans 13:4 (NLT), “The authorities are God's servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.” We demand that our elected leaders place their full support, professionally, fiscally and judiciously, towards our fire and police officers and emergency services. Additionally, we will vote for and support those elected leaders who put the safety and security of our children, families and citizens foremost in every neighborhood in San Antonio. Drugs, violent crime, human trafficking and gang-related activities must be targeted and eliminated to make our City the safest city in Texas.
PLANK 7. Address poverty at its root causes not its symptoms and consequences.
We believe that poverty in our community is not a simple lack of funds, income or assets. We will elect and support candidates and leaders who enable the citizens of San Antonio to thrive by empowering them to live well and thereby contribute to the community. We believe that people tend to flourish in an environment of stable, loving and meaningful relationships. When these relationships are absent or unhealthy, individuals, families and the community at large suffer. This brokenness often leads to material hardship. We will vote for and support those individuals who are courageous enough to address these realities by identifying the brokenness and generational poverty where it exists and are willing to also strengthen and establish healthy relationships. We will actively support programs and funding focused on supporting family stability since studies show that when families fall apart, social & financial problems magnify and overtake our communities. Stable, intact traditional families and strongly supported single parent families can and do prevent and alleviate poverty. We will always vote for and support any candidate who understands and promotes education and vocational training opportunities for the citizens of San Antonio while maintaining an overall environment of public safety, law & justice within our City. We will vote for and support candidates and leaders, when faced with dire circumstances provide a governmental safety net of material support that does not foster long-term dependence on government, but rather help people get back on their feet.
PLANK 8. Provide exceptional city services that improve and enhance the quality of life equally in all neighborhoods of the greater metropolitan area.
We will elect and support candidates and elected leaders that serve the citizens of San Antonio in their neighborhoods. We fully support those candidates that have a vision of equitable and adequate housing, a highly skilled workforce and an infrastructure of basic human and city services that never places the business interest of any section of the City over or at the expense of another. We expect our leaders to ensure adequate green spaces for our families and control of urban sprawl that infringes of the homes of citizens. We will support candidates that are committed to economic growth wedded to the absolute, increased well-being of all of the citizens of San Antonio.
PLANK 9. Exercise, at all levels of local government, sound, conservative fiscal management.
We believe and will elect and support leaders who consider themselves, first and foremost, sound stewards of the resources of our City. We believe that all we have is given to us by our Creator and that all in authority must act as stewards of God’s resources; that our City leadership serve as managers of that which belongs to God. We will elect and support those leaders who believe in the sacred trust given to them by the Citizens of San Antonio to care for and increase in good measure all that God has blessed us with. Therefore, we will demand from our City leaders a viable, sustainable annual budget that meets the needs of our overall community, by providing more than basic city services. We demand open and transparent methodologies that create municipal revenues without increasing tax debt, limited and well directed spending and complete and total accountability to the citizens of San Antonio.
PLANK 10. Integrate successful faith-based programs and organization in full partnership with local governmental agencies to provide added value and resource to meet the needs of individuals and families.
We will elect and support any candidate and city leader who is willing to stand with churches and communities of faith in equal partnership in the streets, barrios, and neighborhoods of San Antonio. The Christian community at large, regardless of denomination, has been “in the trenches” for decades feeding the hungry, providing shelter to the homeless, comforting widows and orphans, clothing the needy and standing in the gaps of social safety nets. We will vote for and stand by those City leaders who recognize the resources of the Christian community of San Antonio and are willing to enter into viable partnerships with them to strengthen families, assist in the education of our children and disadvantaged adults and meet needs in the city. We look for leaders who when asked, “What did you do for the people of San Antonio?” can answer with conviction “…I delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper.” (Job 29:12).
PLANK 11. Excellence in Education is a Priority for Our Children.
We believe that the most precious resource within our community is our children. Census statistics (2017) estimate that 26% of San Antonio is comprised of children under the age of 18 years. They may be a small percentage of our population, but they are 100% of our future. We believe that excellence in education for our children is a priority. In the Scriptures, God has commanded two institutions to educate: the home and the church. As an extension of these institutions, the modern schools and school systems have a public mandate to educate as well. However, the Bible makes it clear that education is to begin in the home (Deuteronomy 6:7; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:15). The education of the young, and ourselves, is a responsibility given to us by God. The New Testament indicates that the responsibilities of the church include edification as well as evangelism (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 2:2). As Christian voters, our responsibility is to make sure that our children and we are educated in the godliest manner possible. We will support and pray for the educational system in our community and get involved in improving it. We will be very active in governing the education that their children are receiving. When necessary, we will train and raise up members of the community to fill school board seats and support them beyond the ballot box. We will vote for and support any candidate that maintains the worldview that all areas of knowledge, science, math, art, philosophy, medicine, etc., are reflections of God's creative glory. We insist that they agree to promote, not infringe, any school curriculums that support and/or share that worldview. We will also vote for and support any initiative that allows an informed decision of where and how a child is educated to rest with that child’s parents. In conclusion, the Churches of San Antonio set forth the previous positions that reflect our Biblical worldview and the hopes and prayers for our City. We will vote these biblically based values and we will vote and support those candidates and leaders who respect, honor and stand with us in these positions. We will actively seek and select, in accordance with Exodus 18:21, capable men and women from all the people—men & women who fear God, trustworthy men & women who hate dishonest gain—and we will appoint them as officials over our community to serve, we, the people of San Antonio, Texas.
Download the SACLF Faith Based Platform